LTJ Bukem - Find out a bit more about the man, his friends and what he's done for Drum 'n' Bass...
Few musicians leave as big a mark on their genre as LTJ Bukem has. The Shelter will undoubtedly be packed this Saturday night, and rightly so. But not all those in attendance will be there because they are ardent d’n’b followers who know everything about the latest releases on the smallest labels. Rather they fancy a good night out, know the name, and know he’s supposed to be good.
And, fortunately, he is.
Bukem’s drum’n’bass is accessible to the non-fan. Some knock him for that, claiming that the phenomenal creativity from when those first mesmerising breakbeats came out in the early nineties has not continued. He has, it’s true to say, retained his own very distinctive sound, and since defining the genre, experimentation has been left to newer DJs who seek to push the boundaries.
But I was having a similar conversation about Radiohead the other night. They know what they do best and they keep doing it well. The difference, I suppose, is that with Radiohead you always wonder whether the next album is going to be the one where the creative tension is such that they’ve reached breaking point and suddenly shoot off in a completely new direction. With Bukem you’re relatively safe to assume that won’t happen, and yet you can guarantee his production will be second to none and will always sound as crisp as ever.
After a quiet period during the mid-noughties Bukem announced himself back in the world of drum’n’bass in 2009 with a FabricLive mix which oozes quality. All those seminal mixes of the nineties have found a successor, much to my relief. That seamless mixing of bouncy, fluid basslines with expansive soundscapes over the top is back with a vengeance.
Unfortunately, however, what with running the Goodlooking label and playing live all over the world with Conrad, Bukem does not appear to have getting into the studio on his immediate to-do list, although I sincerely hope I’m wrong about that. The forthcomingWhat Price Art album, as promised on the cover of Switch (on the podcast), has not exactly been very forthcoming. It may be a matter of opinion, but I don’t think too many of Bukem’s followers would disagree that Switch is a fabulous track and we are all hoping for the release of the follow-up long player.
Nevertheless, on the flipside, I don’t want Bukem or Conrad to go into an extended period of studio-hibernation because I love the live show. Having seen them play on more occasions than I can remember, I can only recall one time when they were having a bad day, at the now deceased London club The End. Apart from that, they have always been incredible value – it’s the type of show that your legs really know about the day after because you’ve been leaping around insanely for hours.
And this, quite simply, is why you’d be completely mad not to be at Shelter this Saturday night, (though it’s probably best advised not to spend too long in Tara 57 beforehand…!)
Check out our special Bukem and MC Conrad podcast here
You can also find out more about Saturday and listen to some classic Bukem here